Instead of facing Angels, Iwakuma faces Minor Leaguers

Mariners righty pleased with outing against Ranges' Triple-A affiliate

Instead of facing Angels, Iwakuma faces Minor Leaguers

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma gave up two runs and six hits over five innings on Monday in a Triple-A Minor League game against the Rangers' Round Rock club at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Iwakuma pitched in the Minor League game instead of facing the American League West-rival Angels in Seattle's Cactus League contest. The veteran faced 20 batters and threw 72 pitches with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Several big league veterans played in the contest, batting each inning to get in extra work. Shin-Soo Choo led off for Texas each of the first five frames and went 3-for-5 against Iwakuma.

"I felt good overall out there," Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. "It was different to face Choo each inning, but also good to face a Major League hitter in the game. I had a good feel with the split, it is starting to dive a lot. I feel like I could start the season right now physically, it's just all mental from here out."

Iwakuma could start three more games this spring before the Mariners open regular-season play April 6 in Seattle against the Angels. He's thrown in two Cactus League games to date and is yet to allow a run in six innings.

Robinson Cano, Austin Jackson and Justin Ruggiano each recorded several at-bats in the Triple-A and Double-A games Monday at the Peoria Complex. Jesus Montero hit a two-run homer for the Triple-A club, while Danny Hultzen tossed two innings while starting the Double-A game and allowed one home run while striking out four.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.